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Gay Centre discos at the Matador


“Prior to the moving into town (Thorp St) in 1981 there was nothing in the city centre other than the original discos in Allison Street, bring your own booze, and 25p for a baked potato, that sort of fund-raising. So there was a gap from when the closed in 1979, but the Centre group tried to continue to hold social events, including socials at the which the Centre organised. These were very relaxed, over time it became 60 – 70% women and the number of men declined. But the Saturday night discos that , and the Centre organised were mainly men, the disco was women only. The discos had an extension but only till midnight, as was quite common with pubs that had late licences.”

“The was in the old and directly opposite the entrance to St Martins Church, where Wagamanas is now, there used to be a spiral ramp which went to the entrance, right in the centre of the markets area, it was quite busy, they opened at 3:00 -4:00 a.m. and had a markets’ licence allowing them to trade with the wholesale market and stall holders. Most of their trade was early in the morning, anything at night was a bonus, they were very quiet in the evenings so they started hiring out to the community groups. The Centre approached them and they were happy to have us and it turned out to be quite a money-spinner for them. The group collected money on the door for the Saturday disco, £1 and 50p unwaged. You could have over a hundred, it was very popular. For the socials we didn’t charge but held raffles.“

Contributed by: Lyn David Thomas, 47

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